Let’s read that interesting portion.  Genesis 30:37-40 says, “And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chesnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods. And he set the rods which he had pilled before the flocks in the gutters in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that they should conceive when they came to drink. And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted. And Jacob did separate the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the ringstraked, and all the brown in the flock of Laban; and he put his own flocks by themselves, and put them not unto Laban’s cattle.”

I encourage you to read Genesis, chapters 29-30 to learn the fascinating history of how Jacob met his future wife, Rachel.  Rachel had an older sister named Leah.  When Jacob asked Laban for Rachel’s hand in marriage, Laban told Jacob he would have to work seven years for her.  Jacob complied, but Laban tricked him and gave him Leah as his wife.  Discovering that he had been married to Leah, Jacob agreed to work seven more years for Rachel.  So, Jacob was married to both Leah and Rachel.  Through them and their handmaidens, Jacob fathered twelve sons and one daughter.  After serving Laban for about twenty years, Jacob asked for permission to leave and raise his family separate from his father-in-law.

In asking Laban for his freedom, Jacob reminded him that when he first began attending his father-in-law’s sheep, there were few of them.  Now, as a result of Jacob’s excellent care, there were many sheep.  He offered to take the ‘defect’ sheep (those who were ringstraked, speckled, and spotted) as payment for his work, leaving Laban with the unblemished ones.  We read in Genesis 30:35-36, that Laban had his sons take Jacob’s sheep far away (three days’ journey away) and had Jacob tend to his flock.

What happened in verses 37-43 was quite miraculous.  Jacob took “rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chesnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them.”  He skinned the rods and put them in the ground at the watering troughs of Laban’s sheep.  Somehow, by seeing these stakes when they reproduced, they produced ‘defect’ sheep.  As they were born, Jacob would take them and put them with his own sheep.  How did staking these rods in the ground produce these sheep? Let’s read Genesis 31:11-12, “And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I. And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee.”  It seems the Lord worked a miracle on Jacob’s behalf because of the way Laban had tried to trick and take advantage of him.

Isn’t it amazing and comforting to see how the Lord always provides for those who put their faith in Him?  We read in Proverbs 30:5, “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.”  (199.6)